“The reclamation of the true, wild, primordial and empowered feminine within all of us is an evolutionary task of our times; alongside this, the healing of a brutalized masculine that is disallowed sensitivity and that needs the courage to unhook from the expected cynical abandonment of caring relationship to self, other and the Earth. This level of work is for all of us as the masculine and feminine seek their redemption, integration and sacred marriage through all forms of life, regardless of gender.” ~ Thanissara
As we enter the longest night of the year with Winter Solstice tomorrow, it’s interesting that the story of Inanna is finding me in various ways through conversation and social media. It seems more than perfectly timed for this story to become more central in my awareness right now.
Further, with Venus in retrograde (which is Inanna’s planet), it seems all the more appropriate. Venus regularly goes through a cycle of being an evening star, then disappearing for a number of days to reemerge as a morning star (thus, the descent of Inanna). She should ascend as a morning star by sometime mid-January.
Inanna’s story spoke to me so strongly when I went through my health crisis in 2000. I, fortunately, found out about her story of descent into the dark realms around 2003. Everything that I had experienced in those terribly painful and dark years was put into a meaningful framework. Even though it didn’t calm the pain, there was definitely less suffering on my part because I could finally see the meaning and relevance of my journey. When I read the story, every fiber in my being understood the nature of this mythological descent and the resulting breaking down to break-through. Inanna was to bridge her own light and dark side with this descent, and the universe was asking me to do this as well. I knew that my life depended on it.
I didn’t request this descent nor would I willingly embark on a journey like that. Quite simply, my psyche knew I had to go on this journey to discover what I was made of and who I really was. Considering that this kind of dark feminine process is feared in our culture, I had very little tools at the time of my own, personal descent. For a couple of years, I deeply searched inside myself for peace and light.
When I finally connected with the story of Inanna, everything began to make sense. My process could then find itself in a container ~ it could find itself in the larger context of a rite of passage. And, how I approached this rite had everything to do with the results as I came out the other side.
Even though I wish I had better guidance during this time, I look back and fully understand why this had to happen to me. I treasure what I was able to bring back into the world from the depths below. This descent helped me become an adult and a woman. It also taught me about courage, the preciousness of life, the beauty of the living spirit, and importance of the image-based or metaphorical mind.
In 2000, the universe propelled me forward onto a journey to connect with my truer self. The wild, primordial feminine aspect inside my own psyche was begging to be seen, heard and acknowledged. It was a knock-down, drag-out fight…and if I didn’t learn the art of surrender, I knew that I would not make it through.
I am still reclaiming parts of myself that are disconnected or not integrated. The symbolic mind and the dream-world offer me many clues to integration, as well as patience and the ability to listen. And, this same process of descent happened again in 2009, although not remotely as intense. Fortunately, I had the awareness and tools to navigate the dark this second time. It became a creative process and not, as I felt the first time around, a punishment.
I learned that the dark had as much, if not more, to teach me as the light did. In the dark, I found my true light…the beauty that wakes me up in the morning and sings me through difficult and joyous times. It’s only when I am able to find this light in the dark that I have felt centered, at ease, and full of love and purpose.
If you wish to read more about the descent of Inanna, I suggest Diane Wolkstein’s book, Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth.
I also suggest this blog post by a Uniterian Universalist Chruch in Nashville, TN.
Finally, the descent of Inanna has everything to do with the creative process. When we travel deep into our psyches and souls, we always emerge with a truer sense of who we are and what we are about. Many times we emerge with songs, stories, poetry, art, and movement. This blog post on Mystic Mama really speaks to the important of this process.